American Art – Part I of IV: Kendric Tonn
Artist Statement: “I have always held drawing in a kind of reverence, both as an art form in its own right and as a foundational skill for other arts. When I was trained in the classical tradition of oil painting, it was a touchstone and constant companion–first throughout several years worth of studies in charcoal and pencil, and finally, when my teachers allowed me to begin painting, a question that accompanied each brushstroke: ‘Does this paint I’m putting down improve the drawing in my picture?’
Even now, out of the painting academy and working on my own, I find myself frequently returning to the pure drawing I was taught as a neophyte painter. With these studies of the figure in pencil or portraits in charcoal, I have the chance to concentrate on questions of line, shape, and value–in other words, drawing, the hard skeleton that will give structure to a painting or teach one to produce a subtly-varied line that expresses form with elegance and economy.”
The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part I of VII
Musings in Winter: Kahlil Gibran
“I cannot tarry longer.
The sea that calls all things unto her calls me.”
Fellini won five Academy Awards, including the greatest number of Oscars in history for Best Foreign Language Film (4): “La Strada” (1956), “The Nights of Cabiria” (1957), “8 ½” (1963), and “Amarcord” (1974). In March of 1993 he received an honorary Oscar in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments.
A Poem for Today
“A Partial History of My Stupidity,”
By Edward Hirsch
Traffic was heavy coming off the bridge
and I took the road to the right, the wrong one,
and got stuck in the car for hours.
Most nights I rushed out into the evening
without paying attention to the trees,
whose names I didn’t know,
or the birds, which flew heedlessly on.
I couldn’t relinquish my desires
or accept them, and so I strolled along
like a tiger that wanted to spring,
but was still afraid of the wildness within.
The iron bars seemed invisible to others,
but I carried a cage around inside me.
I cared too much what other people thought
and made remarks I shouldn’t have made.
I was silent when I should have spoken.
Forgive me, philosophers,
I read the Stoics but never understood them.
I felt that I was living the wrong life,
while halfway around the world
thousands of people were being slaughtered,
some of them by my countrymen.
So I walked on–distracted, lost in thought–
and forgot to attend to those who suffered
far away, nearby.
Forgive me, faith, for never having any.
Musings in Winter: Dara Reidyr
“There are those of us whom nature is awakening to the secrets of the universe; apart from religious dogma or occult dabbling. It is Natural Law. It is awakening the minds and quickening the senses of those whom it’s calling its descendants. Nature is fighting for its rightful place, which can never be fully usurped. Those who are most open to this knowledge are artists (poets, musicians, writers) who also happen to be free thinkers or ‘outsiders’ to the system. We hear a voice that is calling us to waken to the secrets of the universe. Perhaps in some distant future, humanity will read of us; the ones who paved the way for this Pali or New Romanticism called the awakening unto Nature’s Law. It won’t be technology or software that paves the way, but nature. It won’t allow itself to be destroyed, maybe uninhabitable for a time for humans, but never destroyed. There are those of us, the chosen few who are following the narrow path. We will be the future thinkers and writers who generations will read about that truly changed the world, and made a way where there seemingly was none.”
Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923) excelled in the painting of portraits and landscapes. In the words of one writer, “His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous representation of the people and landscape under the sunlight of his native land.”
The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part II of VII
Musings in Winter: John Muir
“Devise some creed, and live it, beyond theirs,
Or I shall think you but their spendthrift heirs.” – Edmund Blunden, English poet, author, critic, and professor, who died 20 January 1974.
Here they went with smock and crook,
Toiled in the sun, lolled in the shade,
Here they mudded out the brook
And here their hatchet cleared the glade:
Harvest-supper woke their wit,
Huntsmen’s moon their wooings lit.
From this church they led their brides,
From this church themselves were led
Shoulder-high; on these waysides
Sat to take their beer and bread.
Names are gone – what men they were
These their cottages declare.
Names are vanished, save the few
In the old brown Bible scrawled;
These were men of pith and thew,
Whom the city never called;
Scarce could read or hold a quill,
Built the barn, the forge, the mill.
On the green they watched their sons
Playing till too dark to see,
As their fathers watched them once,
As my father once watched me;
While the bat and beetle flew
On the warm air webbed with dew.
Men from whom my ways begin,
Here I know you by your ground
But I know you not within –
There is silence, there survives
Not a moment of your lives.
Musings in Winter: Marty Rubin
Here is the Artist Statement of Scottish painter Lucy Campbell (born 1977) : “When I was a little girl, I used to wander alone in the woods. One time I remember being lost: it is one of my richest and most enduring early memories. I remember the colours and light; the pink foxgloves, the rich green foliage; but most of all I remember the dichotomous emotions – I felt fearful because I was, for the first time ever, genuinely lost and alone in a corner of the woods I’d never ventured into before that day, and I felt a dreadful fear that I would be lost forever – but I also felt a thrill for the same reasons, as if I’d happened upon some magical other dimension unseen to others. I wandered around in there, imagining I was far, far from home, for some time, until I found myself once again in a bit of the woods I recognised. This memory is always there, in what I paint, the sense of wonder, the glee and the fear.”
The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part III of VII
Musings in Winter: Robin Wall Kimmerer
“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.”
“Modern traveling is not traveling at all; it is merely being sent to a place, and very little different from becoming a parcel.” – John Ruskin, English art critic, artist, social thinker, philanthropist, and author of “The Stones of Venice,” who died 20 January 1900.
Some quotes from the work of John Ruskin:
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ”
“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.”
“I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.”
“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.”
“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.”
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.”
“A book worth reading is worth owning.”
“Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless.”
“Every increased possession loads us with new weariness.”
“No changing of place at a hundred miles an hour will make us one whit stronger, or happier, or wiser. There was always more in the world than man could see, walked they ever so slowly; they will see it no better for going fast. The really precious things are thought and sight, not pace. It does a bullet no good to go fast; and a man, if he be truly a man, no harm to go slow; for his glory is not at all in going, but in being.”
“All art is but dirtying the paper delicately.”
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.”
“Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.”
“There is no wealth but life.”
“Cookery means…English thoroughness, French art, and Arabian hospitality; it means the knowledge of all fruits and herbs and balms and spices; it means carefulness, inventiveness, and watchfulness.”
“You will find it less easy to uproot faults than to choke them by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults, still less of others faults; in every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; rejoice in it and as you can, try to imitate it; and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.”
“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one.”
“Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.”
Musings in Winter: Ron Lizzi
The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part IV of VII
“Water, water, water…There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
Here is the Artist Statement of South African painter Marike Kleynscheldt: “I am a Bellville based artist with no formal art training, and have been painting since 2007.
My work is nostalgic, sentimental, anything from portraits to still lifes to conceptual work. I express myself with bright emphasised key colours and I love to use outlines and flat backgrounds as design elements. These outlines and flat backgrounds are my favourite part of the painting to do, but without a strong detailed object in the foreground, there is nothing to create the negative space and outline, so in a way the object I paint exists to emphasise the clean background, and vice versa.
I believe there is a place for ‘art for the sake of art’ as well as conceptual work, the one is no greater than the other, and I tend to bounce between the two, while I work on a conceptual work I look forward to my next still life.
I also believe there is a sense of joy captured in my work, something positive that comes through in my use of red paint, hard brush strokes or simply the way in which I beautify objects I paint. I have a great passion for art, I cannot hold it back, I couldn’t stop painting if i was forced, it is my love and my gift and I only hope to share it.”
Musings in Winter: Karen Gibbs
“Don’t spend your days sitting around waiting for something to happen. Get outside and make it happen! Live like a warrior, be at one with nature, fearless in the moment…because this moment will never happen again so don’t waste it!”
From the Music Archives: Buddy Holly
20 January 1956 – Buddy Holly records “Blue Days, Black Nights” in Nashville.
A Second Poem for Today
“My Puppy Loves Flowers,”
By Bruce Lansky
American Art – Part II of IV: JW Jung
“Read poems to yourself in the middle of the night. Turn on a single lamp and read them while you’re alone in an otherwise dark room or while someone else sleeps next to you. Read them when you’re wide awake in the early morning, fully alert. Say them over to yourself in a place where silence reigns and the din of the culture — the constant buzzing noise that surrounds us — has momentarily stopped. These poems have come from a great distance to find you.” – Edward Hirsch, American poet and critic, who was born 20 January 1950.
“Early Sunday Morning”
I used to mock my father and his chums
for getting up early on Sunday morning
and drinking coffee at a local spot
but now I’m one of those chumps.
No one cares about my old humiliations
but they go on dragging through my sleep
like a string of empty tin cans rattling
behind an abandoned car.
It’s like this: just when you think
you have forgotten that red-haired girl
who left you stranded in a parking lot
forty years ago, you wake up
early enough to see her disappearing
around the corner of your dream
on someone else’s motorcycle
roaring onto the highway at sunrise.
Musings in Winter: Unknown Inuit
“I think over again my small adventures
My fears, those small ones that seemed so big
For all the vital things I had to get and reach
And yet there is only one great thing
The only thing
To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.”
A Third Poem for Today
“To Hear the Falling World,”
By Jane Hirshfield
Only if I move my arm a certain way,
it comes back.
Or the way the light bends in the trees
this time of year,
so a scrap of sorrow, like a bird, lights on the heart.
I carry this in my body, seed
in an unswept corner, husk-encowled and seeming safe.
But they guard me, these small pains,
from growing sure
of myself and perhaps forgetting.
The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part V of VII
“The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth – with a capital G. ‘Progress’ in our nation has for too long been confused with ‘Growth’; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better – toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.”
20 January 1961 – Robert Frost recites “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Inauguration.
“The Gift Outright”
The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
Musings in Winter: Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation
“We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Natalie Shapero
What I adore is not horses, with their modern
domestic life span of 25 years. What I adore
is a bug that lives only one day, especially if
it’s a terrible day, a day of train derailment or
chemical lake or cop admits to cover-up, a day
when no one thinks of anything else, least of all
that bug. I know how it feels, born as I’ve been
into these rotting times, as into sin. Everybody’s
busy, so distraught they forget to kill me,
and even that won’t keep me alive. I share
my home not with horses, but with a little dog
who sees poorly at dusk and menaces stumps,
makes her muscle known to every statue.
I wish she could have a single day of language,
so that I might reassure her ‘don’t be afraid —
our whole world is dead and so can do you no harm.’
Musings in Winter: Brave Buffalo (late 19th century -Teton Sioux medicine man)
“Of all the animals the horse is the best friend of the Indian, for without it he could not go on long journeys. A horse is the Indian’s most valuable piece of property. If an Indian wishes to gain something, he promises that if the horse will help him he will paint it with native dye, that all may see that help has come to him through the aid of his horse.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Diane White
In the words of one writer, “Diane White began her painting career in Colorado, studying at the Denver Art Students League and at the Loveland Art Academy. She now makes Santa Fe her home.
Her paintings are created using many traditional still life techniques. However, her work features a unique aspect that she calls, “magical realism”, referring to a literary genre favored by writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and others.”
“The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars,
life is your child, but there is in me
Older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye
that watched before there was an ocean.” – From “Continent’s End,” by Robinson Jeffers, American poet, who died 20 January 1962.
The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of surburban houses-
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads-
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.-As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.
In the words of one critic, “Visual artist P. John Burden (born 1943) is a classically trained Canadian and British subject. Burden’s work includes original acrylic paintings, watercolour paintings, and traditional and modern artist’s prints. His art is symbolic or surrealist, using representational skills from a lifetime of drawing, painting, design. John Burden also illustrates books for all ages and has work in collections worldwide.”
Musings in Winter: Rachel Carson
A Fifth Poem for Today
“Promise of Peace,”
By Robinson Jeffers
The heads of strong old age are beautiful
Beyond all grace of youth. They have strange quiet,
Integrity, health, soundness, to the full
They’ve dealt with life and been tempered by it.
A young man must not sleep; his years are war,
Civil and foreign but the former’s worse;
But the old can breathe in safety now that they are
Forgetting what youth meant, the being perverse,
Running the fool’s gauntlet and being cut
By the whips of the five senses. As for me,
If I should wish to live long it were but
To trade those fevers for tranquillity,
Thinking though that’s entire and sweet in the grave
How shall the dead taste the deep treasure they have?
Musings in Winter: Kaui Hart Hemmings
The Curmudgeonly Sage – Quotes from Edward Abbey: Part VII of VII
Musings in Winter: Crazy Horse
“Upon suffering beyond suffering: the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one.” –
American Art – Part IV of IV: Josh George
Artist Statement: “I’ve always been attracted to the urban landscape. It holds a different kind of beauty. The decaying masonry work of time tested dwellings and the dismal skies that surround them. Quilt like patterns are revealed when you view through these arrangements.”